Posted On: January 4, 2019

SETCO stays on top of real estate stories and wants our clients to stay in the know as well. Florida Realtors website chose to cover some of the top stories of 2018. Being about anything from Hurricane Michael to cuts in business rent tax, these stories are ones to read. Hurricane Michael The Florida Realtors Disaster Relief Fund started accepting applications for aid and donations from Realtors throughout the state of Florida who wanted to help. Hurricane Michael has caused a significant change in the economy of the towns affected and will forever alter the realty in this area. Insurance Woes, from Flood to AOB The National Flood Insurance Program is in significant need of an update, but Congress keeps avoiding the issue. The NFIP is deeply in debt, and ended 2018 where it started, without any major plans on how to fix the problem. In addition to that, coverage keeps getting more expensive for property insurance due in part to the assignment of benefits (AOB) rules. FREC Rule Update The Florida Real Estate Commission opened the door to changes in individual advertisement rules, with a focus on the size of licensee names compared to broker names. This is a discussion that will continue well into 2019. Market Shift In the first half of 2018, buyers became frustrated as median prices and interest rates grew higher and higher. By the second half, buyers began to drop out, sellers lowered asking prices, and bidding wars thinned out. There is hope that 2019 will bring a balanced market of buyers and sellers. The “Higher Mortgage Rates” Prediction Came True For five years now, experts predicted that the new year would bring higher mortgage rates. In 2018, the prediction finally came true, with rates being a full percentage point higher than when the year began. Amendment 2 Passed Florida voters passed Amendment 2 in November, which made permanent a 10 percent cap on non-homestead property assessments each year. Florida Realtors advocated strongly for this amendment and were thrilled when it passed with 66 percent of voters agreeing. Cuts to Business Rent Tax The Florida Legislature cut the state’s business rent tax again, which will save Florida businesses $31 million each year. The new rent-tax rate on commercial leases dropped to 5.7 percent on January 1st, 2019. Will Non-Realtor Business Models Succeed? iBuyers - Opendoor, Offerpad, etc. - purchase homes directly from owners without an MLS or Realtor. Surveys have shown that buyers and sellers prefer a trusted advisor to help them through the stressful process of buying a home, but there is still worry among Realtors that iBuyers could take over a significant share of the real estate market. Blockchain Could Unblock Closings Blockchain essentially takes a complex, multi-user transaction and makes it safer. The additional spread and safety of the data that Blockchain provides could cut the paperwork time to closing in half. Change does take time, but it could lead to a system where a contract signed on Saturday could close by Thursday. Cost for New Construction Continues to Rise The nation needs more new homes, but prices continue to rise for new construction. Multiple factors contribute such as that there is not enough land, impact fees are going up, supplies cost more, and there aren’t enough workers. New home construction did not appear in 2018 and does not look too good for 2019 either. SETCO is dedicated to the local real estate community, which is why it is so important to keep our clients aware of any changes that could come up in 2019 due to the last year. We are ready for 2019 and cannot wait to bring our expertise to even higher levels than in 2018. You can find the full stories here: